Comparative Public Policy (L2052)

15 credits, Level 5

Autumn teaching

Why do public policies differ from country to country? How can we explain these differences? Why are some governments more successful than others in solving particular policy problems?

These are the key questions that will be explored in this introductory module to comparative public policy.

The first part of the module explores theoretical issues relevant to the analysis of public policy, including both the stages of policy process and the main theories put forward to explain cross-national and temporal differences in public policy.

The second part of the module uses these theoretical tools to examine in detail specific policies, including welfare and social policy, pension policy, family policy, labour market policy, immigration policy, and education policy.

For each policy area, we will examine the roles of various actors, interests and institutions in the policy process, as well as the influence of broader structures and ideas in policy making.


50%: Lecture
50%: Seminar


50%: Coursework (Essay)
50%: Examination (Take away paper)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 20 hours of contact time and about 130 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2023/24. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: